Monday, October 15, 2012

it's not a fishing report if it's two months late

Went to Yellowstone Park and Livingston, Montana for a couple weeks in mid-August to Labor Day. The blog's been covered in cobwebs, so I thought I'd revisit the trip.
The water was low, there were fires everywhere, and the fishing was pretty average. There were a couple rivers that really outshone the rest, however, mostly 12-16 inch trout were caught.
We did a bit more touristy stuff than I normally would, even saw Old Faithful #yawn. Did a lot of prospecting for trout due to the conditions and certainly learned a few things:
  • Find cold water.
  • Foam hoppers suck a dick. Though it was the height of hopper season, I found that throwing a big caddis, stimulator, or, even a good ol' Adams was the ticket. The number of refusals I got to foam hoppers was crazy. and don't forget to tie a size 16-22 floating nymph off the back for bonus points.
  • Tying flies in a vise-grip by candle light is tricky
  • If you fish the Paradise Valley spring creeks, avoid Nelson's, unless you're a golfer #phony.
  • Be cautious of the wild herds of dumpsters in the campgrounds, they will fuck up your girlfriends car (yes, I was driving).
  • Montana Rib & Chop House has an excellent chicken fried steak, and $1 Ranier taps.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

glass clubs

Following up on the Sage Circa post, I thought we should talk about fiberglass fly rods for a minute. When glass hit the scene, it all but destroyed the bamboo rod market. When graphite came along, it did the same to glass.
It seems as many anglers work through their testosterone phase of "pounding the hogs", they're realizing that fly fishing isn't exactly an activity that demands cro-magnon sensibilities and that the slower tempo and increased fish-fighting-fun that glass brings to the table is worth re-examining. At the forefront of this somewhat underground revolution is Cameron Mortenson of The Fiberglass Manifesto blog. If you think you want to get into the swing of glass, check Cameron out, he features a lot of very special rods from smaller builders on his page.
 I have been considering a new glass rod for some time and haven't been able to pull the trigger on the Scott F2 rod that I've been coveting, or even the Hardy glass rod at $200 less. I did, however, pick up a new old stock Orvis fiberglass rod off eBay about a month ago.
The problem with vintage glass rods is that most of them were junky 60's and 70's era crap with cheap metal ferrules and even shittier reel seats. This Orvis one at least has a moderately honest black anodized seat and foregoes the metal ferrules. I don't know when Orvis stopped hand-penning their name on their blanks (bamboo rods aside), but it sure adds a nice touch of class to the rod.

bear 911

Bears do pretty well on their own. Seems any trouble they run into is likely caused by humans, so the least we can do is help em out once in a while.
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Monday, July 23, 2012

Sage Circa

It looks like Sage is going to start making fly rods that bend, and I can hardly fucking believe it.

Sage CIRCA - Fly Fishing with Advanced, Slow-Action Performance. from Sol Duc Buck on Vimeo.

My very first good fly rod was a Sage SP 480. I had been fishing for a year and decided I liked fly fishing enough to drop a pile of cash that I didn't have on the counter of the local fly shop and take that rod to the river. It was really light, it was pretty, and it cast like a dream. The next season I determined that I absolutely couldn't survive without a three weight rod, only this time the pile of cash was a bit taller and the hand penned script on the rod said Winston IM6. I never enjoyed fishing that SP rod again.
It turns out that when a fly rod actually bends a little bit you don't break your 7x tippet off on fish nearly as often, you don't pull flies out of a trout's mouth on those sneaky downstream casts as often either.
Years have gone by since then and Sage has done their best to make their rods even stiffer, sure, they cast a nice tight loop 80-120 feet just fine, and you can get them to bend if you line them up with one line heavier than they're rated for.
Now Sage has released the "Circa" line of rods. I'm actually curious to fish one, however, the whole thing reeks a little of the "New Coke" marketing scheme, I mean, how long has it been since Sage gave a shit about soft fly rods? Maybe a few Winston customers will buy them instead of Biiix rods next season, who knows, but when the dust settles I have a feeling people will be saying "remember the Circa, whatever happened to that rod?" And Sage will have returned to rolling blanks that let you cast over the next horizon.

Friday, June 29, 2012

green drakes & wishful thinking

The summer road trip to Montana has been booked, we hit the road August 18th. One of the best parts of planning a Montana trip is tying the flies that you don't normally get to tie for Midwest fly fishing, of course, whatever I tie will likely not come off while I'm there and I'll end up spending just as much money in fly shops as I would had I not planned ahead.
Regardless, I'm starting with some Green Drakes, a fabled hatch that I have never seen first hand, and won't again this year. The massive size 10 drakes are supposed to bring even the wariest of old sage trout to the surface for a meal, but the hatch will peter off a bit before I arrive, so I'm tying up some size fourteens in hopes that I catch the tail end of the frenzy when the trout are still keen on the smaller flies that come off after the main act has left the stage.

Hook: Tiemco 100 size 14 
Thread: Olive 8/0 
Tail & Hackle: Grizzly hackle dyed olive 
Body: Stripped peacock herl dyed yellow 
Wing: Medium dun.

Monday, May 28, 2012

memorial day camping

The Memorial Weekend camping trip is in the bag. The short version is: Too much rain, no trout caught. Much unhealthy food consumed. Lots of bugs (the good kind).

Monday, April 9, 2012

steelheading: that was fun?

To follow up on the last post, I did indeed drive north of Duluth for some early spring steelhead fishing, or, I stood knee deep in a big lake watching other people do nothing for two days.
It's an incredibly mind numbing sport and in the 14 hours I spent freezing my ass off, I saw one person catch a fish.
It was not a big fish.
I spent the night in "the cabin" as I refer to the back end of the old Audi. It's surprisingly comfy, however, the key is to be sure I park it on a level street. As someone who regularly sets up a tent, you'd think this would be obvious, but the first time I tried it I ended up having to get up an hour into my sleep, put on shoes and a jacket so I could move the car in the pouring rain to get the blood to flow back into my feet.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

let the spring run begin, or, that effing John Gierach

I sat down at the table in the local bar and for the first time ever the waitress came up to me and told me what I wanted to drink. Now, I would never describe myself as a "regular", though I have made a habit of taking advantage of their happy hour pretty regularly lately. I'm sure the real reason she immediately knew my order was the fact that the moment I sat down I opened a book (as I do every time I sit down at this bar between 3p and 5p on a random weekday), and they don't necessarily attract a literary crowd.                                                         
Today, over Blackthorn Cider and fried cheese, John Gierach started in on steelhead, which has led to my making a mental inventory of fishing gear that will need to be packed into the car for tomorrow's drive to Duluth. Recent reports have the Steelhead staging and waiting for the rain that should make the water high enough for their run and I figure I've got as good a chance of not catching anything tomorrow as I would if I were to wait til the timing was just right. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

fish pic

This is my new favorite fish picture. Yes, I know it's a small fish. Yes, I did fuck with it in iPhoto. Yes, I actually use iPhoto. Leave me alone.

it's spring on the rush river in wisconsin

Day off, time to hit my favorite spot on the river. I got settled in around 8:30 this morning. Got wet just downstream of the honey pot and not more than 20 minutes later two fuckers in baggies and clown hats hopped in right in front of me. Though it's possible they didn't see me, they definitely didn't care to have a look first.
Back into the car and off to find a nice lonely stretch to properly christen my new four weight rod. Bugs were lifting off nicely from the start, but with only the occasional rise in response, I decide to drag tiny beadheads through the run. Larger than average brookies were eager and after settling into contentment with my catch I opted for the dry fly box to see if I couldn't coerce a surface take or two. No dice.
Some very large (by midwestern standards) stone flies were fluttering about above the surface and it was time to change ammo. My choice of a hair wing peacock caddis with a small hare's ear dropper was immediately validated by a couple brookies looking for a hearty meal, but it was the 16 inch brown taking the dropper that really made the day.
After seven hours on the water the blurry eyed drive home almost killed me, but it was a great start to the spring Wisconsin trout season.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

midges: those tiny fuckers

Minnesotans are (ironically) bitching about winter being too nice, and though it has kept me off my new cross country skis, it's got me jonezn' for trout ahead of sched.  Temps in the 40's mean a big fuck you to ice off paste, those magic handwarmer thingies, & other crap you only use in ice fishin weather.
Indicator fishing is the rule of the day (see: bobbers) and at the tippet end, things like scuds, chironomid pupae, and San Juan Worms bounce off the rocks of the river floor. On occasion you may see a snout reaching skyward and when it does, MIDGE is the word. I'm partial to this variation of a Shane Stalcup pattern (tie it on a curved shank hook with a trailing shuck to imitate an emerger). You prolly won't catch anything and go back to nymphs, but it's always worth a try.
hook: 18-22, abdomen: peacock sword stem, shuck: rafia, wing: medallion sheeting, hackle: grizz

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


It's time to start thinking about crushed rock again.
The end is nigh, if you wish to ride 100 miles of shitty gravel roads up and down rolling hills all day in total crap weather, you need to send Chris your postcard NOW.